Camp Chase was a Civil War camp established in May 1861, on land leased by the U.S. Government. Four miles west of Columbus, the main entrance was on the National Road. Boundaries of the camp were present-day Broad Street (north), Hague Avenue (east), Sullivant Avenue (south), and near Westgate Avenue (west). Named for former Ohio Governor and Lincoln's Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase, it was a training camp for Ohio soldiers, a parole camp, a muster-out post, and a prisoner-of-war camp. As many as 150,000 Union soldiers and 25,000 Confederate prisoners passed through its gates from 1861-1865. By February 1865, over 9,400 men were held at the prison. More than 2,000 Confederates are buried in the Camp Chase Cemetery.
Four future Presidents passed through Camp Chase, A Johnson, Hayes, Garfield, and McKinley, and Confederates captured during Morgan's Raid in 1863 included Gen. Basil W. Duke. The camp was closed in 1865 and by September 1867 dismantled buildings, usable items, and 450 patients from Tripler Military Hospital (also in Columbus) were transferred to the National Soldier's Home in Dayton. In 1895 former Union soldier William H. Knauss organized the first memorial service at the cemetery and in 1906 wrote a history of the camp. In 1902 the memorial Arch was dedicated. From 1912 to 1994, the United Daughters of the Confederacy held annual services. The Hilltop Historical Society now sponsors the event on the first Sunday in June.